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Anchor`s cables color in 1940


thekz
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Hello
pre-war photos of British battleships show that the main anchor cables is often very light (white?) and the black`s stoppers are very dark (black?)

 

barham31s.jpg

 

(HMS Barham on photo)


What might have been the case with these colours in the summer of 1940 after the introduction of camouflage in the Mediterranean?
Thanks in advance for any information :think:

Edited by thekz
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They'd normally be rusty looking. Photographs like the one you posted are not uncommon, but they're always taken just after some poor matelots have just finished painting the links white ahead of a VIP visit to the ship whom the Captain wishes to show off for.

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1 hour ago, Jamie @ Sovereign Hobbies said:

They'd normally be rusty looking. Photographs like the one you posted are not uncommon, but they're always taken just after some poor matelots have just finished painting the links white ahead of a VIP visit to the ship whom the Captain wishes to show off for.

Thank you. I think so too. 
It's just that I think it would be fun to do a sort of white paint residue on the rusty chains on the model.
Do you think it might not have completely worn off by the summer of 1940?

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I was about to write that colored links would indicate a 15 fathom "shot"  but I just read that coloured links would indicate a 12.5 fathom "shackle" in the RN. In any event, these links would be visible even with an in-service vessel as they're critical to anchor handling.

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47 minutes ago, thekz said:

Thank you. I think so too. 
It's just that I think it would be fun to do a sort of white paint residue on the rusty chains on the model.
Do you think it might not have completely worn off by the summer of 1940?

 

I cannot imagine they were properly prepared as per the painting guidance of two coats of red lead primer prior to top coats. I would expect they were supposed to last days at most and was simply Pattern 537 white paint brushes onto the links to make them pretty. Even if the cables were not run out into the sea afterwards they would start showing orange signs of rust the day after the first time some salt water spray was shipped over the bow.

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23 minutes ago, Jamie @ Sovereign Hobbies said:

 

I cannot imagine they were properly prepared as per the painting guidance of two coats of red lead primer prior to top coats. I would expect they were supposed to last days at most and was simply Pattern 537 white paint brushes onto the links to make them pretty. Even if the cables were not run out into the sea afterwards they would start showing orange signs of rust the day after the first time some salt water spray was shipped over the bow.

To your point, if you look carefully at the full-size photo, that white paint is in pretty bad shape. With the crew lounging on benches on the port side, I guess this is after the visit and said VIP only saw this at a distance. 

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1 hour ago, dnl42 said:

I was about to write that colored links would indicate a 15 fathom "shot"  but I just read that coloured links would indicate a 12.5 fathom "shackle" in the RN. In any event, these links would be visible even with an in-service vessel as they're critical to anchor handling.

What colour are these links?

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1 hour ago, dnl42 said:

I was about to write that colored links would indicate a 15 fathom "shot"  but I just read that coloured links would indicate a 12.5 fathom "shackle" in the RN. In any event, these links would be visible even with an in-service vessel as they're critical to anchor handling.

Do you mean that 12.5 fathoms are painted counting from the anchor, or that every 12.5 fathoms one link is painted?

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21 minutes ago, thekz said:

What colour are these links?

 

15 minutes ago, thekz said:

Do you mean that 12.5 fathoms are painted counting from the anchor, or that every 12.5 fathoms one link is painted?

It's very easy to find USN and US merchant descriptions, For RN practices, "shackle" is too common a word and get hijacked discussions of plain shackles.

With that, here's a Google search that will show pictures of US practice: https://www.google.com/search?q=ship+anchor+chain+colored+link+"shot"&tbm=isch

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2 hours ago, thekz said:

Do you mean that 12.5 fathoms are painted counting from the anchor, or that every 12.5 fathoms one link is painted?

Each shackle (kenter or similar) joining the lengths of chain is painted one distinct colour, typically red, then a number of chain links either side of the shackle are painted a different distinct colour, typically white, to denote which shackle it is. The first shackle on the end of the length of chain from the anchor will have one link either side of the shackle painted, the second two links, etc. This is an easy visual reference to determine how much chain has been let out. There is reference in some google images to the last two lengths of chain being painted yellow and red respectively, but I've never seen that in practice, if the chain is moving too fast to count the number of painted links when you're getting near the end, you shouldn't be waiting to see what colour the links are before taking cover! The chain lengths between all markings right up to the bitter end on chains i've seen have all been painted black. 

If the chain is within wear limits, it's usually end for ended at each drydocking ie disconnected from the anchor and the end that was the bitter end connected to the anchor before repainting, re-marking and restowing.

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Dear @dnl42 and @Dave Swindell
What you told me about painted links is of course very informative, but looking at the photos I have (including the one above) shows that the Royal Navy did not follow this practice at the time I was interested in.

Or vice versa there were black links on white chains.

 All in all - it's not clear :hmmm:

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3 minutes ago, Bertie McBoatface said:

In your photo above, there's not a lot of cable on view. Perhaps the markers are still down in the lockers?

Perhaps.

But clearly the chain is not black in these photos. Consequently, the markers, if any, are not white.
And the markers, which are further away from the cable holders, are not interesting for modelling.
That is why I asked the gentlemen to return to the discussion of the first question:wink:

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Gidday, as I understood it a 'shackle' of cable (chain) was a unit of length, being 15 fathoms, or 90 feet. Each of these lengths were joined together with a joining shackle ( a chain link that can be broken down) and it was these marked with paint that I think @Dave Swindell was referring to. (Note:- the word 'shackle' has two different meanings here, just to be confusing). The paint on the links on either side of the join was to indicate how much cable was out, whereas the painted cable in the photo of HMS Barham above was purely short-term decoration.

Admittedly our vessel was much smaller than a battleship, but the joining shackles/links were below decks in the cable locker when the ship was not at anchor, and they were definitely painted white.  HTH. Regards, Jeff.

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Update on my previous post - below is an extract from BR67 Admiralty Manual of Seamanship 1995 which describes Royal Navy practice at the time. For wartime practice you would need to find a copy of this manual from that time - there was a 1937 edition which was still being reprinted in 1948, so that should cover it. Principal of marking is the same as my post, just the detail differs slightly.

 

e. Marking of Cable. The shackles and joining shackles of a cable are numbered consecutively from its outer to its inner end, the first joining shackle being that which joins the first and second shackles together. To assist in identifying the joining shackles when it is being worked, the cable is marked. Every joining shackle, except the one between two half shackles, is painted white. One link on each side of a joining shackle is also painted white and marked with a number of turns of seizing wire around the stud corresponding to the number of the joining shackle. These marked links are separated from the joining shackle by a number of unmarked links which serve to indicate the join between two particular shackles; for example, if the fourth link on each side of a joining shackle were so marked, it would indicate the join between the fourth and the fifth shackles. This marking system is illustrated in Fig 2- 9, which shows the third joining shackle is on deck. Cable markings should be checked and remarked as necessary whenever weighing.

y4mTx18OdVNg_lvepBh-bshY-x90zUgJFOaEQ_F4Fig 2-9. How Cable is Marked.

Edit- 

Ref the photo of Barham's focsle, a quick measure of the length of cable on deck shows around 23m, so the first marked shackle is safely tucked away inside the chain locker. If the exposed sections of cable have been painted for some special occasion, it may even be just a temporary whitewash rather than a proper paint job.

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The 1937 edition merely says "Cables are marked at the first shackle with a piece of iron wire round the stud of the first studded link, both before and abaft the shackle ; at the second shackle round the second studded link, and so on."  No mention of paint on links.

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I looked at the same issue a while ago in my ground tackle posts and found no references to the use of colouring per link or shackle; most of the info is also based on the Manual of Seamanship (1937) that @Dave Swindell mentioned (for scratch building these volumes are highly informative)

 

https://ontheslipway.com/ground-tackle-part-i/

https://ontheslipway.com/ground-tackle-part-ii/

 

GroundTackle_05.jpg

 

I did notice that Hood carried a partly light-gray cable (for whatever that may mean!); difficult to see if the cable was painted black/white, or AP507B/C and when with the latter (Arrow highlights the mooring swivel, bottom left the cable in to colours). Later IWM close-ups show hull colour.

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13 hours ago, Dave Swindell said:

it may even be just a temporary whitewash rather than a proper paint job

I would like to know how long this whitewash lasts.
I'd still like to do the leftover white paint on the rusty chain :happy:

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6 minutes ago, foeth said:

I looked at the same issue a while ago in my ground tackle posts and found no references to the use of colouring per link or shackle;

 

https://ontheslipway.com/ground-tackle-part-i/

https://ontheslipway.com/ground-tackle-part-ii/

 

GroundTackle_05.jpg

 

I did notice that Hood carried a partly light-gray cable (for whatever that may mean!); difficult to see if the cable was painted black/white, or AP507B/C and when with the latter (Arrow highlights the mooring swivel, bottom left the cable in to colours). Later IWM close-ups show hull colour.

I can't help but express my admiration for your golden hands! :worthy:
I'm working on the chains at the moment. I am getting much rougher than on your Hood and that is with nerves and the death of links in the jaws of the carpet monster.💀
A photo of your work can be used as a reference :clap:

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Not mentioned in the blog, but you need about one bottle of whiskey per shackle (Scottish, of course) 😆 If I am ever going to start 3D printing it is to avoid making another set of cables....

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3 minutes ago, foeth said:

Not mentioned in the blog, but you need about one bottle of whiskey per shackle (Scottisch, of course)

let's be clear about the technology:
do you use it before you assemble the chain?
or afterwards, to banish the idea of never modeling again?

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55 minutes ago, europapete said:

Actually I think most would be consumed during the process, to give one the courage to keep going! 

( I have this process still to look forward to, albeit in 1/200)

Logically, in 1/200 the dose should be 1.75 times more :drink:

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On 11/11/2022 at 19:20, Our Ned said:

The 1937 edition merely says "Cables are marked at the first shackle with a piece of iron wire round the stud of the first studded link, both before and abaft the shackle ; at the second shackle round the second studded link, and so on."  No mention of paint on links.

I just found this image of HMS Anson's anchor and chain in drydock in July 1945, which shows the 2nd shackle marker link painted white (note 2 bands round the link stud) This implies that the marking practice I quoted from a later edition of Admiralty Manual of Seamanship was in use on Anson at the time, and I suspect was in widespread use throughout the war and before, it just wasn't written down.

When you're dropping an anchor, you need an easily viewable indication of how much cable has been payed out/let go.

mid_000000.jpg?action=e&cat=Photographs WITH THE BRITISH PACIFIC FLEET. JULY 1945, BRITISH PACIFIC FLEET OPERATIONS JUST BEFORE THE JAPANESE COLLAPSE.. © IWM (A 30196) IWM Non Commercial License

 

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